Rooftop Films Lineup for the Week of June 23

Rooftop Films Lineup for the Week of June 23

Around this time in the summer, before the solstice even makes it official, I start to realize I'm spending way too much money. Barbecues, beach trips, new jorts: it all adds up.

Fortunately, Rooftop Films is here to help by screening two completely free shows this coming week: Rob Reiner's 1989 classic WHEN HARRY MET SALLY (presented simultaneously in all five boroughs thanks to AT&T and Tribeca Film Festival) and FIVE STAR, Keith Miller's award-winning tale of a Brooklyn teen contemplating the gang life.

In addition to these free shows we are excited to host the New York premiere of SKANKS, a joyful, life-affirming documentary ode to a fearless troupe of drag performers as they prepare to bring their latest musical to life in the football-obsessed, gun-totin', Bible-thumpin' town of Birmingham, Alabama. SKANKS screens right in the middle of NYC Pride Weekend and will feature performances by the cast of the film as well as some of NYC's most popular drag artists. It's sure to be a wild night.

(Rob Reiner | 1989 | 96 min)

7:00PM Doors Open
8:30PM Film Begins

Brooklyn: On the Beach at Coney Island at West 10th Street
Bronx: Bronx Terminal Market
Manhattan: Solar One
Queens: Socrates Sculpture Park
Staten Island: Richmond County Bank Ballpark

Last month as part of their first-ever Film For All Campaign, AT&T asked members of the public to tweet the film they thought all New Yorkers should see. The votes have been tallied and New Yorkers have spoken! TFF presenting sponsor AT&T announced that Rob Reiner's 1989 romantic comedy classic When Harry Met Sally will screen at outdoor venues in all five boroughs simultaneously on the evening of June 24. Written by the beloved Nora Ephron, starring Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan, When Harry Met Sally follows an evolving friendship through twelve years of chance encounters in New York City. The film raises the question, "Can men and women ever just be friends?"

More info:

(Keith Miller | 83 min.)

8:00PM Doors Open
9:00PM Film Begins
10:45PM Q&A with filmmaker Keith Miller and cast members

Venue: 5 MetroTech Center, Downtown Brooklyn, NY 11201

Deep in Fort Greene, Brooklyn's Walt Whitman Houses, John, a gawky teenager, attempts to navigate life after his absent father is struck and killed by a stray bullet. Brought under the wing of his father's confidant Primo, a five star general of the Bloods, John quickly learns the code of the street and what it means to be a man. As Primo grooms John for gang life, both men strive to figure out how to do what's best for them and the people they love.

In Five Star, director Keith Miller (winner of a Rooftop Filmmaker's Fund grant) follows up his 2012 debut feature Welcome to Pine Hill with a similar dedication to the minute details of lives not frequently immortalized on film. The Projects and the people that populate them are brought to vivid life on hot sticky summer days that never seem to end. Gang life is inextricable from these streets; it's built into the landscape. Observing the lives of these two men with a quiet yet pointed distance, Miller carefully eschews worn clichés through his unflinching focus. Many of the characters -including James "Primo" Grant - are based off their real selves, and Miller makes exceptional use of his non-professional cast to create a powerful work that hinges on the accumulation of small, telling moments. Distinctions between fiction and real life remain intentionally ambiguous, allowing the story to resonate beyond the streets, as the characters face the question of what it means to be a man.

More info:

(David McMahon | 84 mins.)

8:00PM Doors Open
8:30PM Live performance by Maddelynn Hatter and Pusse Couture
9:00PM Film Begins
10:45PM Q&A with filmmaker David McMahon and subjects
11:30PM Live performance by cast members of "Skanks in a One Horse Town" and after party sponsored by New Amsterdam Spirits

Venue: Industry City 220 36th Street, Brooklyn, New York, 11232

When men playfully model baby bottle nipples taped to their chest (in order to give the appearance of "tiny little titties dried up from drug use") and dance to a song that goes, "get into the groove...stick it up your duke" you know this isn't your average behind the scenes film. Skanks, a one-of-a-kind documentary, follows a wildly talented and highly inappropriate band of misfits as they rehearse for a drag musical entitled, "Skanks in a One Horse Town."

Their venue is "Theatre Downtown," a small community theater and a haven from football, Christianity, and the town's conservative beliefs, stuffed inside an old antique store in bible-belt Birmingham, Alabama. Though their city is often unwelcoming, the cast bonds to form a family of sorts and never lose their raucous sense of humor.

The musical itself is about three women, played by men, who accidentally travel from 1978 Studio 54 to 1878 Deep Hole Texas via a disco ball time machine. Along with fellow time travelers Anita Bryant, Conway Twitty, and Meatloaf, the skanks must stop a local baron from demolishing the town to make room for the new railroad before they return to 1978 and New York City.

As uproarious and ribald as the musical is, the onstage histrionics in Skanks might be overshadowed by the real lives of the amateur performers, especially the writer, producer and director of the play Billy Ray Brewton's seriously concerning addiction to soda. Director David McMahon takes us on an intimate and wildly hilarious journey into the world of Theatre Downtown, inviting us behind the scenes of the show and also into the unique cast and crew's homes. Ultimately, Skanks is about the redemptive power of theatre. As one of the actors says, "When I'm on stage, and the audience is right there... it's bliss."

Tickets and info:

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